Budget Tips

Get paid every other week? Here are budget tips that show you how to KEEP two whole paychecks a year - - money you already earn!

Just imagine, twice a year, getting to keep your whole paycheck for yourself! Seed money for a new business, holiday gifts without debt, school tuition--anything that having those extra hundreds dropped into your pocket would allow.

If you are one of the millions of people who get paychecks every other week, such as every other Friday, you have 26 paydays a year instead of the 24 people have who get paid twice a month, for example on the 1st and the 15th. If you plan ahead, you really can keep those two extra ones. And, you can do it while paying all your bills ahead of schedule!

Here's how. Set aside a couple of quiet, undisturbed hours and gather your tools. You will need a notebook, some scratch paper, a calculator, and a calendar. You will also need a list of your bills, including their monthly due date and the amount due.

**Step One**

Make a list of your bills and arrange the list in the order of the day of each month they are due. Ignore for right now the variables that you have control over, like food, clothing, entertainment. We'll look at those further down the list.

**Step Two**

Divide the list into two sections, Section One for bills due between the 1st and the 15th of the month, and Section Two for those due between the 15th and the 31st.

**Step Three**

Take out your calendar and circle every payday coming up for the next year.

**Step Four**

Get out your notebook. Using one page for every payday, write those dates at the top of the page. On the rest of the page, make four columns. Column 1 for the due date (including the month), column 2 for the creditor, and column 3 for the amount due. Column 4 is for the amount paid; you will fill that in after you actually make each payment.

Make a separate page for every payday.

**Step Five**

This is important! You must PRETEND that you get paid only twice a month!

Assign the Section One bills to the paydays that fall on or previous to the 1st of every month.

Assign the Section Two bills to the paydays that fall on or previous to the 15th of every month.

Go through your notebook, and next to the date at the top of the page, identify whether that payday is a Section One or a Section Two.

Did you discover the magic here? There are two paydays that you can claim as FREE ONES; usually, they will fall in March and August. Put big red hearts on these pages, or a picture of the dream that you plan to use the money for--anything to mark it in some way to remind you that these two are all yours!

One the pages you identify as Section One or Section Two, write the corresponding bills on their respective pages, filling in the first three columns.

**Step Six**

Look through your bills for the payments you must make regularly, but not monthly. These might be property taxes, home or auto insurance, school tuition, quarterly utility payments, or the like. If they are small amounts (that will be relative to your personal finances) write them in on the payday before they are due.

If they are too large for you to handle comfortably in one chunk, divide the amount by 12, and write that amount on all the Section One OR the all the Section Two pages. Put this money in a savings account earmarked just for this purpose.

**Step Seven**

Now is the time to consider the variables (food, clothing, entertainment, gifts) that we set aside in Step One. If you have been following these steps, you know which payday has the heaviest payment demand. Plan to use the other one to refill the freezer, stock up on cleaning supplies and paper goods, or buy clothing.

This is the time, also, to write in important gift-giving occasions, so you can plan ahead for birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. Write the occasion in your budget book at least one payday ahead of the event.

See why planning ahead is so important? It may sound complicated at first reading, but if you follow the steps carefully in order, they will make sense. You will be paying your bills on time, keeping your credit clean, and still keeping two whole paychecks a year for yourself.This plan really does work!

© High Speed Ventures 2011